California proposes taxing drinking water


Next up: a tax on the air you breathe.

From Mercury News: For the first time Californians would pay a tax on drinking water — 95 cents per month — under legislation aimed at fixing hundreds of public water systems with unsafe tap water.

Senate Bill 623, backed by a strange-bedfellows coalition of the agricultural lobby and environmental groups but opposed by water districts, would generate $2 billion over the next 15 years to clean up contaminated groundwater and improve faulty water systems and wells. The problem is most pervasive in rural areas with agricultural runoff.

“My message is short and direct: We are not Flint, Michigan,” co-author Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, said at a Wednesday rally outside the Capitol, where demonstrators held signs reading “Clean water is not a luxury” and “Water is a human right.”

Ironically, many Californians are more aware of the crisis in Flint — where state and local officials in 2015 told residents about lead contamination in the drinking water, after claiming it was safe to drink — than about the water problems in their home state, said the measure’s main author, Sen. Bill Monning, D-Monterey. He called this “a pivotal time in our state’s history to do the right thing.”

SB 623 has been moving through the Legislature for months, but was amended Monday to include the tax on water for both homes and businesses. It also imposes fees on farms and dairies, roughly $30 million annually, to address some of the contamination caused by fertilizers and other chemicals. Because it includes new taxes, the proposal will need a two-thirds vote in each house to pass, which supporters concede will be a battle.

Still, Monning has been able to forge the unusual alliance of farmers and environmental groups, which rarely agree on public policy. He also has the support of at least one Republican lawmaker: Sen. Andy Vidak, a cherry farmer who said his Central Valley district — which includes Hanford and parts of Fresno and Bakersfield — is the epicenter of the drinking-water problem.

“This is very, very important to my constituents,” he said after the rally, as some of them began chanting on the Capitol steps. “This is one of the most important things in my district.”

But water agencies say taxing drinking water sets a dangerous precedent and that the bill would turn them into state tax collectors. “Water is essential to life. Should we tax drinking water? We don’t think so,” said Cindy Tuck, a spokeswoman for the Association of California Water Agencies.

Sue Stephenson, a spokeswoman for the Dublin San Ramon Services District, said she supported the intent of the proposal — potable drinking water for all — but argued that lawmakers should use the money in existing coffers. “The whole purpose of the general fund is to help take care of disadvantaged communities,” she said. “There’s no reason that they could not also fund communities that need access to drinking water.”

Marie Barajas, of San Jose, had a similar reaction. “That’s not fair. We’re not responsible for that,” she said. “That’s why we pay taxes.”

Monning, however, argues that the general fund isn’t a reliable funding source and that the proposed tax on households, amounting to roughly $11.40 per year, is negligible. “You’re not going to notice it on your water bill,” he said.

The bill is now relegated with hundreds of others in the “suspense file” of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The panel must decide by Sept. 1 to move it to the Assembly floor for a vote.

Selerina Chavez took a day off from work to drive from the Kern County city of Arvin for the rally. She said she hoped lawmakers would try to fix the problem posing health risks to her family and her neighbors, many of whom are farm workers or living on fixed incomes.

When she moved from Ventura County more than 20 years ago, she said, it never occurred to her that the water would be unsafe for her family to drink. They drank it for years, she said, before she learned a few years ago that it contained unsafe levels of arsenic.

“I thought about my children,” she said in Spanish. “How many years have we been drinking this water?”

In addition to her regular water bill, she spends $40 per week buying drinking water. She also buys water for cooking. Now, she said, “I have three water bills.”


24 responses to “California proposes taxing drinking water

  1. what will they tax next…..sunshine?

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Reblogged this on My Blog and commented:

    Von Mercury News: zum ersten Mal Kalifornier würde eine Steuer auf Trinkwasser — 95 Cent pro Monat – unter Rechtsvorschriften zur Befestigung Hunderte von öffentlichen Wassersysteme mit unsicheren Leitungswasser.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I certainly do agree with the statement . . . “this tax will turn us into a tax collecting agency.” I have no doubt that in the future, some legislature will come up with the brilliant idea of taxing something else, but just adding it to existing water bills . . . I mean since they already collect “taxes.” (sarc”

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Kevin J Lankford

    They don’t think water is already taxed. Hardly any body thinks their tap water is safe to drink now because of the odor, and other things. I know I don’t. I get my drinking water from family that have a good well. Most buy their drinking water at grocery stores now, paying as much as they would pay for soda or beer, and with the same amount of tax. I suspect we have good cause for concern just bathing in it.

    Decent drinking water is just one of the services municipalities collect taxes for. They should provide it first before they demand more money.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse…
    In Sicily, the Mafia used to charge the people for their drinking water. Now it’s California—only this time, it’s the Democrats doing it!

    THIS is what you get with a Democratic monopoly. But that’s all right—California, you’ll never learn…

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I was born and grew up in the East Bay Area of San Francisco, and we lived with my maternal grandparents after my parents divorced. That was in 1954, and my grandparents had tried their best to raise 7 children during the Great Depression, and World War II. Thankfully both of their families, one half of which had immigrated to the U.S. from Denmark at the end of the 1800’s, had the foresight to move to southern California in the early 1920’s, where my grandparents met each other. Life during those years was very tough–very–and, once they lived in California with it’s amazing climate, and at the time it’s amazing government that seemed to care so much for it’s citizens, that it must have seemed like they’d died and gone to heaven.

    I remember the absolute pride my grandparents took in California–nothing the state would have asked of them would have seemed too dear, after what they’d lived through for the first half of their lives. Back then, Democrats were still sane, or a facsimile thereof, and Gov. Brown’s dad was governor, and even as a child I thought he looked trustworthy–and, compared to his son, he was! But, looking back on things, I can see the ‘creeping socialism’ at work. The govt. was taking on too many responsibilities for it’s citizens, turning too many of them into needy clingers, who didn’t even mean to become like that. It was just becoming way to easy, so it seems like it was inevitable.

    I could have attended Junior College free of charge, or attended any university in the state for a much lower tuition, thanks to being a citizen of the state of California. Things like that made us feel safe, and comfortable, since “Uncle [Govt]. Sugar Daddy” was always there to help us with just about anything. I even received free medical treatment–free–simply because I was a resident in the state–it was tax-subsidized–at the time, I couldn’t pay for what I needed, medically, so the state stepped right on up and paid the bill–or, rather, my fellow Californians paid for it out of the taxes they gave to the state. I was grateful at the time, but something kept nagging at me about it–I kept thinking maybe I should pay something–anything–but, there was no way to pay for it–since it was ‘free’.

    I know things are much, much worse now, with those who now live there, for the most part, seeming to believe that “Uncle Sugar Daddy” owes them pretty near everything, “free of charge”. Good roads, good schools[whoops, that one failed!], good police protection, good looking neighborhoods–well, that last one is still pending probably–but, while out there visiting family not too long ago, I was awestruck by how gorgeous all the parks and shopping centers looked, no matter where we went–neat, and tidy as a pin–very well landscaped, and well taken care of–it made me wonder who was paying for all of that?! But, it was very pretty.

    I guess what I’m trying to convey is that, maybe to understand why most Californians will go ahead and willingly pay that tax, it might help to know what it was like growing up out there right after the turn of last century to get the bigger picture of why they will. What has help to shape their ‘frame of mind’ on things like that. I know that most of those living there now, who were born and grew up there, are not ‘bad’ people per se, but they’ve unfortunately grown up in a social era that promoted what is going on right now, and they view it all as ‘normal’. So, they might view most of us, who live elsewhere, as far less than ‘normal’. To overcome all of that, though, appears to me to be one gigantic task better undertaken by God, Himself! 😦
    [Sorry for all the ‘diagnosing’–it comes from a line of law enforcement members, and one psychologist, with whom I grew up, and even now live with, so I think I might come by it somewhat naturally by this time. 🙂 ]

    Just one other thing about the water tax–too often Californians do need to buy bottled water. Especially in the north during drought, when the salt from the San Francisco Bay actually backs up into the fresh water rivers, and the tap water becomes too salty–I was shocked when that first became a problem during the end of the 1960’s, and my grandparents had a water dispenser like the ones seen in office buildings! So, help with keeping that from happening might also play a part in spurring the residents on to accepting that tax. I am against that type of tax, though, and wish the neardowell demoncrats would take a hike–to Colorado, or anywhere else!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chris Watts, you forgot to mention CA is insolvent due to the give-away programs. Huge dollars are going to illegals, much to muslims.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, I realize that. The govt. ‘go for broke’, then the govt. ‘go broke’.

        I think most of those who have now moved there for the great climate, and all the bennies from the state, do not understand what they are allowing their lying politicians to do to them, which will become very evident in the short term. They have become those rotten politicians’ “Useful Idiots”.

        Those who are native to California, who truly do love the state because it’s home to them and always will be, earthquakes or no earthquakes, really need to wake the heck up, and begin trying to regain control of the state’s govt. Right now, the govt. is being run by literal airheads, who seem to live on pure greed, and avarice, who only want what they believe will be best for them, not for the people of the state, nor for the state itself.

        Personally, I think it would be a wonderful thing if the entire state suffered under the state’s govt. needing to publicly proclaim insolvency, and have to apply for bankruptcy–wow, wouldn’t that make the whole population stand straight up, once their benefits were cut off?! Far too many of them are not working to earn those bennies. They stand there with their dirty hands out, taking whatever the suckers will allow that renegade govt. to give them

        I think any govt. that would do to their state, or country, what the legislators in California are doing to MY home state, shows us exactly what they are: Irresponsible, lawless, self-centered grubbers, who need to be in jail!!!

        Liked by 3 people

  7. What California should consider is selling about 1/4 of their State to Mexico,and spend the Money on desalination plants along the coast north of the new border,and schooling on how to operate ’em. Then,maybe they’ll give up on trying to tap into Northern Nevada’s water aquifer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They should just wall them up in there, let the Mexicans and the “diverse” have it. After a year or two they can come in with a few dozer and start over.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Lookout California, MerryLand Taxed The Rain:
    Who Would Tax The Rain (Who Will Stop The Rain)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. What are they thinking? There is NO “drinking water” in California. Hasn’t been for 20 years or more. Everyone and his brother buys bottled water–at least in So. Cal. SO….this REALLY means that they are going to tax the water you DON’T drink……your washing machine water, toilet water, lawn water (almost a dead horse anyway since this last drought), agricultural water, stock/farm water….industrial use water (car washes, produce-washing water, manufacturing water)….dishwasher water…..This bullcrap claim that they are going to tax “drinking water” is a ruse…..they will NEVER EVER “separate” your drinking water from your household-use or manufacturing water…’s THOSE that will bring them the MOST revenue. But, legally, since it is all “potable water” (we have not separated grey water from potable water for a century—though they USED TO in our small town, until the dawn of our new, enlightened consumerism….) they will be able to claim it ALL as “drinking water.” ANOTHER CALIFORNIA regressive TAX!

    Liked by 3 people

    • In Sacramento they had the cheapest water imaginable. It wasn’t metered, you just paid $20.00 every six months for all you wanted. During the drought they “discovered” that Nestle hadn’t paid for their bottling permit for about 40 years and continued to bottle all they wished, even though the citizens were rationed.

      It doesn’t matter where you live, the corruption gets worse and worse.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. California, land of fruits and nuts.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Such brilliant leadership in a state that shut down the richest vegetable and fruit growing valley in the country so the smelt could have the water. Putting thousands out of work. That refused to repair or even build dams and let their snow runoff go straight into the ocean.
    How can anyone take these nuts serious? They are always crying for more water from Colorado, but do nothing to help the themselves, except tax it????

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Next thing they might try to tax- walking! Or maybe sweat!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Californication (soon to be known as Mexifornia) should tax liberals by the word.

    LOL – The state would be rolling in money. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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